Who doesn't love pirates?
Kids love to dress up as them in Halloween or during carnival season. There was whole a whole era of Hollywood where pirate movies were the blockbuster vein of gold. Pirates in fiction are charming, fun, dastardly, and the epitome of adventure.
Pirates in real life on the other hand, are nightmare fuel that only spells death, slavery, or worse- or all three.
How about assassins? From John Wick to Assassin's Creed, they also hold an allure and charm of danger and dexterity, of skill and power that engages us in movies and art in general.
Assassins in real life on the other hand are anything but charming, and they'll probably engage you only in a trip to the morgue.
Why does this discrepancy exist? Why do we love to hear tales of people that are objectively criminals- professional criminals at that- as if we are all victims to some kind of artistic Stockholm Syndrome?
In my opinion it is because the fictional pirates, assassins, mobsters and gunrunners or world-class thieves are nothing like the real thing: they are archetypes symbolizing completely different things than the actual crime they are committing for a living.
The pirate is the symbol of unharnessed adventure: unbound by laws, able to travel anywhere with impunity, free as a spirit and free to take and enjoy what he/she wants. We also bestow the fictional pirates with their own ‘creed’, their own set of laws by which they abide, and not those of regular society.
Who doesn't want complete freedom and minimal accountability, or what accountability there is to be on his/her own terms?
The assassin is often that, too: someone who is above the law. An angel of death, unbound by constraints of regular society and its laws or admonitions. The assassin is also the perfect revenge fantasy.
Who hasn't wished death upon someone who hurt them badly enough for the hurt to inspire such rage?
It's not accidental that assassins also tend to have a ‘code of honor’ of their own (it doesn't matter if they call it that or not), that gives them their own special morality to which they staunchly and distinctly abide.
It's not the crime that is being glorified, but the capacity to break the bonds of society for one reason or another, to fulfill a need that we feel society is keeping us from fulfilling. That's why such stories and such characters are so alluring, and will never stop alluring us- provided of course, that they're written at least decently.
And you know what? That's just fine- so long as fiction remains separate from reality.
Do you have such characters? Have you liked such characters yourself as a fan?
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Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, Oct. 24, 2020
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